2 Mar 2020

Calls for help for Chinese businesses affected by coronavirus

2:09 pm on 2 March 2020

Chinese businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak are calling for more help from the govenment.

Chinese restaurant open - generic. File image.

A survey has revealed the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on Chinese businesses. Photo: Unsplash / Khachik Simonian

They said in a survey they were getting fewer customers and having difficulties in workforce management.

The survey, Impact of Covid-19 on Chinese Businesses in New Zealand, was carried out by Trace Research and Auckland University professor Dr James Sun.

It has covered 206 ethnic Chinese businesses from 14 industries across 11 regions in New Zealand.

Results show that 91.1 percent of Chinese business in New Zealand have less than 50 employees and they make up the majority of Chinese businesses here.

Nearly half, 45.6 percent, estimated that their cash-slows could only last for three months for running their businesses normally. Among tourism companies, 83.4 percent said their cash-slows could only last for three months for running their businesses normally, followed by hospitality (63.1 percent) and manufacturing (46.2 percent).

A majority of the businesses, 56.3 percent, reckon their revenue will be negatively impacted by the outbreak with tourism, hospitality and marketing firms expect the biggest losses.

Nearly 52 percent said their biggest challenge is the "decline in the volume of customers", followed by financial pressure to pay their rentals (27.2 percent) and short of staff (27.2 percent).

Regarding the travel restrictions, 63.6 percent said their daily operation has been impacted, 49 percent had concerns around workforce management and 66 percent said their business performance have been impacted.

Trace Research director Dr Andrew Zhu said he was not surprised by the results.

"Our local Chinese businesses are one of the key gateways for our tourism, education and international trade between New Zealand and China. They are ambassadors and advocates for our country," he said.

"They are certainly one of the first clusters to be impacted by the epidemic, and gradually more other clusters would feel the pain, but with the majority of us who are optimistic, with the Kiwi can-do attitude, who take care of each other in need, surely we will deal with the epidemic calmly and effectively."

The survey shows businesses hope to see tax reductions, subsidies for rentals and interest of loan for those that suffer significant impact. They also want stricter health checks at the border to boost the confidence of New Zealanders.

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